Thymoquinone ameliorates testicular tissue inflammation induced by chronic administration of oral sodium nitrite

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Although sodium nitrite has been widely used as food preservative, building bases of scientific evidence about nitrite continues to oppose the general safety in human health. Moreover, thymoquinone (TQ) has therapeutic potential as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anticancer. Therefore, we investigated the effects of both sodium nitrite and TQ on testicular tissues of rats. Forty adult male Sprague Dawley rats were used. They received either 80 mg kg−1 sodium nitrite or 50 mg kg−1 TQ daily for twelve weeks. Serum testosterone was measured. Testis were weighed and the testicular tissue homogenates were used for measurements of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-4, IL-6, IL10, caspase-3, caspase-8 and caspase-9. Sodium nitrite resulted in significant reduction in serum testosterone concentration and elevation in testis weight and Gonado-Somatic Index. We found significant reduction in testicular tissues levels of IL-4 and IL-10 associated with elevated levels of TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, caspase-3, caspase-8 and caspase-9. In conclusion, chronic oral sodium nitrite induced changes in the weight of rat testis accompanied by elevation in the testicular tissue level of oxidative stress markers and inflammatory cytokines. TQ attenuated sodium nitrite-induced testicular tissue damage through blocking oxidative stress, restoration of normal inflammatory cytokines balance and blocking of apoptosis.

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